Size Matters? The "Scout" Lionel DD Boxcar Conversion

Brady's thread brings up something I've been wanting to do for some time now: A comparison of the converted Lionel "Scout" type double door boxcar verses other S Scale 40' boxcars.

 

So, let's start with the obvious:  The Lionel verses American Flyer.  At first glance, way too big.

crop LLC v AF

 

But, if we compare the Flyer Boxcar with an SHS boxcar first, maybe things don't seem to bad.

crop AF v SHS

 

Consider also the fact that SHS chose prototypes that were visually compatible with Flyer cars.

 

So, the next step is the Lionel car verses the SHS car:

crop LLC v SHS

 

Hmmm.  Things aren't so bad after all. 

 

So, let's try Lionel verses American Models:

crop LLC v AM

 

Almost even-Steven. 

 

Lastly, Lionel verses the Pacific Rail Shops (now S Scale America) 1937 AAR boxcar:

crop LLC v PRS

 

OMG!  The Lionel car's slightly lower!  It's madness I tell you!  What's this world coming to?

 

Fortunately, the in the real world of boxcars there were cars built to different heights and our models conviently reflect that.

 

Rusty

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Rusty,

 

Nice work on the comparison photos!  I have a C&O train I run at shows and on my layout, and it takes a very good eye to spot any differences between any more detailed cars and the Lionel conversion, especially when the train is in motion.  It blends in very well, and gives a nice variation to the cars in the consist.  So what if the hand grabs and brake wheel are cast in?  Try spotting that when taking in the train as a whole.  I guess if someone wanted to carve off the grabs and brake wheel, and replace them, it could be done.  But why? It all depends on your point of view on the hobby.

 

Keep bashin'!

Jerry

 

 

Rusty, nice comparison. Lest we forget there is always the over looked Marx/K-Line so called 3/16 inch cars.

 

 

003

 

Now they were big scaling out to 44 feet without couplers. But they did have nice trucks and couplers for those of us using pizza cutters and lobster claws.

Cal

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Nice mini-article there, Rusty!!

 

The pictures are very convincing!  This COULD give me a reason to head back to a model railroad meet every now and then in the hope of picking up some nifty (and cheap!) conversion candidates, both the Lionel Scout car and some AF gons/etc.

 

Andre

Brady, your right K-Line was for a brief period selling their Marx with S trucks and couplers.  Al I ever saw where the box cars which had really nice trucks and couplers especially compared to the Flyonels. The prices were almost silly at $15 to $20 a car on the street. Never saw a double door.

 

Techie you see the Industrial Rail caboose converted to S a far amount. I bought one on clearance and wish I bought a couple more.

 

Phil scout cars, engines etc. were Lionel's low cost O27 items with minimal features. Others can chime in.

 

Cal

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Pretty cool comparison Rusty. The Lionel car looks pretty good. What did you do to it to improve the looks of it?

 

Forgive my lack of knowledge but what are "Scout" cars?

I did this car almost 20 years ago, so bear with.  The purpose wasn't to make a super-duper model, just to break up the "monotony" of the American Models boxcars I had.

 

The carbody as is has a flat bottom.  The first thing I did was to notch the bottom of the car to better represent the side frame. 

 

I did carve off the grabs and side ladders.  The ladders and stirrup steps are American Models parts, grabirons are old Northeastern parts.  The incomplete rivet lines were also sanded down and replaced with styrene strip to represent seams.  No perfect, but looks OK.  If I ever did another I'd use the decal rivets now available.

 

Modifying the ends is a little less ambitious.  The ends don't look too bad and would have requires a lot of work to remove some of the details.  The molded in brake rod and platform were left alone, but the brake wheel housing and brakewheel were removed and replaced with AM parts.  The end ladders were sanded down to reduce thickness and new rungs are, of all things, staples.

 

The underframe is an old Downs Models plastic underframe.  Trucks are AM and of course couplers are Kadee 805's.  Lettering is individual dry transfer lettering with CDS dimensional data.

 

Scout was the bottom of the bottom of the line for Lionel in the late 40'/early 50's.  Scale was variable, the couplers weren't compatible with Lionel's regular line and the locomotive drive brick was also low quality. 

 

Eventually, trucks were upgraded and better drives were installed.  The loco's appeared in low end sets afterward and the cars in low to mid-range sets. The double door boxcar usually was decorated specially for a retailer or other company and survived until the 90's.(I think. I'm not really sure of that date.) 

 

My shell came from the infamous "Black Cave Express" from the 80's, a set that had a cheap 0-4-0 DC locomotive with glow-in-the dark parts and user-applied stickers for decoration.  But, the boxcar was a solid, nice dark green.

 

The current Lionel train set 2-4-2's and 4-4-2's are the great-grandchildren locomotives of the Scout line.

 

Rusty

Thanks Rusty. I appreciate all that info. I think you did a great job on that car and I bet  most people don't know it is from a scout set unless you tell them.

 

I've never done anything like that but someday I want to give it a try. Exactly how do you add on the grab irons? Do you drill holes and the grab irons just get glued in the hole or does the grab iron go all the way through to the other side and get bent over in place (obviously also with glue)?

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Thanks Rusty. I appreciate all that info. I think you did a great job on that car and I bet  most people don't know it is from a scout set unless you tell them.

 

I've never done anything like that but someday I want to give it a try. Exactly how do you add on the grab irons? Do you drill holes and the grab irons just get glued in the hole or does the grab iron go all the way through to the other side and get bent over in place (obviously also with glue)?

Thanks, Phil.

 

Yep.  Drill, bend and glue with ACC.

Originally Posted by poniaj:

Speaking of the Industrial Rail caboose...  Sorry about the poor photo. The caboose behind it is a Flyonel Milwaukee Road one.  They compare quite well.  All I did was to substitute some old Gilbert trucks.

 

 Jerry


The IR caboose is better than the Lionel O27 SP style clone.(Humble opinion)  It's soooo perfect for S, one has to wonder what Industrial Rail was thinking at the time.  I've still got one floating around the basement somewhere, waiting to be scalified.

 

I've looked at the Lionel/Flyer SP style caboose with the thought of converting it to scale, but it's just a tad to clunky for my eye.  Looks fine in a Flyer environment, though.(Again, humble opinion)

 

Rusty

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